February 23, 2013

All the World's Indeed a Stage

Well, I've finally enrolled myself in a weekly acting class with the Bare Bones Theater Company which will begin on Monday evening. While I've already been active on the stage for many years now, I've never had any kind of formal training. When preparing for a spoken-word performance, it has always just felt natural to me to approach it in a musical way. I've treated each sentence of the text like a melodic phrase, each word like a note. I would then add dynamics as though I were playing the words on an instrument. My hope was that listeners would be able to hear the musicality in my performances and people have told me that they have. I'm sure that classroom training with a theater group is going to be vastly different from the way that I've always done things on instinct, but I'm looking forward to the experience and all that it may inspire. This is one of those things that I've been meaning to do for a long time, but was always too busy. This feels like the right time now. Hopefully, this will be the beginning of good things to come.

Aside from that, I don't have much to report. Life here in NY is pretty cold at the moment and that keeps me home most of the time. I'm happy to see that baseball's spring training is in full swing down in Florida. That let's me know that a warmer season is right around the corner. Have a joyful weekend. Love & light...

"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial,
because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life
that God has promised to those who love him."

~James 1:12


February 16, 2013

Hail To the Chiefs

Friday morning -- I took the day off from work so that I could attend a very special event at the elementary school. The 2nd Grade class had transformed their cafeteria into a "Hall of Presidents" in honor of Presidents Day. Each of the kids got dressed up like a different American president with a button on the front of their shirt reading "Press Here." As the parents walked around the room, the kids stayed frozen in place like wax figures until their button was pushed. Then, they would come to life and share facts that they learned about their president. The presentation was very well-done and informative. I had no idea that George Washington's teeth were made of Hippopotamus ivory or that Barrack Obama loves to play Scrabble. I made sure that I made a stop at every little president in the room and gave them each a hearty "Thank you, Mr President." I really enjoyed myself at the event and I loved the fact that the kids got so creative with their costumes. It was an inspiring thing to see. We got to meet Thomas Jefferson:

Ulysses S. Grant:

Rough rider, Theodore Roosevelt (great mustache):

Abraham Lincoln:

Ronald Reagan:

And, my daughter, George Washington (that's perhaps the oddest sentence I've ever typed):

As Friday evening rolled around, I headed out to the Conklin Barn to give a poetic cabaret performance. It turned out to be a really fun gig. You can see some of the video footage by clicking HERE. Cheers!

"But when the kindness and love of God
our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things
we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing
of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us
generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified
by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope
of eternal life."

~Titus 3:4-7


February 9, 2013

Hello Nor'easter!

As I was heading home from work yesterday afternoon, the snow was just beginning to accumulate on the roads. Conditions were already a bit slippery so I drove slowly; the only stop I made was to fill my tank with gasoline. It had been forecast that this storm would last through until Saturday morning and bring with it anywhere from 6 to 18 inches of snow. Once I reached my house, I was in for the night. Quiet, snowy evenings at home can be very wonderful, so I decided to start it off by trying something new for dinner. Online, I found a recipe for a Smoky Turkey Shepherd's Pie. It came out very good and proved to by just the kind of warming meal that I was craving. After that, I was very happy to fold myself into a blanket on my sofa and have a movie night. I've been enjoying my Netflix account quite a bit. While they don't get the new releases for a long time, they do have a vast catalog of older movies, TV series, and documentaries, many of which I would probably never see otherwise. Lately, I've watched a couple of really interesting animated features that are worth mentioning: "A Cat In Paris" and "The Secret of Kells."

Oh, one other thing that made my night complete -- Jiffy Pop. It had been years since I made one of those on the stove top. The moment that I saw that aluminum foil ball of popcorn start to rise, I was instantly taken back to my youth. I vividly remember making a Jiffy Pop before watching Disney's "101 Dalmatians" with my friends. Yummy!

After a nice night, I awoke to find that this Nor'easter had surpassed all expectations. I looked out of my bay window at three feet of snow with drifts that reached up to six feet. The landscape looked absolutely beautiful. Of course, it has taken me about 4 hours to dig out. I'm probably looking at another movie night, only this time with Advil instead of Jiffy Pop. Ha! Cheers!

"When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom."
~Proverbs 11:2


February 3, 2013

Musical Joys & Star Wars Toys

On Thursday evening, I went out to the elementary school to watch my son perform in the Fourth Grade Concert. He began playing the clarinet in the Fall of 2012 and, over the course of the school year, he's become quite good at it. This concert featured three numbers each by the orchestra, band, and choir. While the program was made up of simple arrangements of songs like "See Saw Serenade" and Beethoven's "Ode to Joy," the overall sound was nice and I cherished it immensely. It had a good feel. I must say that I am so happy to see my son taking an interest in playing music. Music has always been very important to me and I'm glad to see that it is important to him also. I bought him his first guitar about two years ago and tried to teach him, but he wasn't ready for it then. Maybe soon we'll give it another try.

Lately, my son has also been playing a lot of "Angry Birds: Star Wars" on the computer. I guess it got him interested in the story, so he asked me if we could make popcorn and watch the films. Over the last two weekends, we've watched all six episodes of Star Wars (Original Trilogy first, of course). Back in 1977, when I was 9 years old, I saw the first Star Wars movie and it quickly became my favorite thing in the world. I had all of the toys (the dolls, the ships, comic books, posters, bed sheets, etc.). I loved it all. When the Prequel Trilogy came out, I noticed that a new line of the toys had come out and it brought back so many good memories. At that point, I was too old to play with them myself, but I bought a bunch of the dolls anyway and put them in the garage just in case I ever had a son who would be as interested in the movies as I was. My son is now 9 years old. He loves Star Wars. The toys have come out of the garage. Life is good...

"Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and joy are in his dwelling place."

~1 Chronicles 16:27